Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The cult of mean

Talking to Danno about Royal Space Force (as that is still a subject over here), and we both noted that the hero is sort of a dick at the start of the film, but grows up.

The real question in our conversation was why a film like Akira was so much more popular than Royal Space Force. We came to the conclusion that Akira was an adolescent power-fantasy, whereas Royal Space Force was more about becoming an adult.

The main thing is that, in Royal Space Force, a character with no special abilities or powers does something mildly great. He is powerless in the face of greater forces, but overcomes.

And it's that sense of powerlessness in our lives that makes us admire the mean.


In watching "Blake's Seven", Avon was the most interesting character. He was more interesting to watch than Blake ever was. Part of that was Avon was mean. He could say the things that you and I would never-ever say, because we just can't.

When I was watching this in middle-school, being teased by my classmates, I just thought Avon was the coolest thing in the world. Try and tease him, whydontcha? He'll take you down in a second, with a few, well-directed words.

Oh, but that made him just awesome.

By high-school, "Blackadder" had supplanted my need for mean. Although, I'll admit, (SPOILER ALERT) both Blackadder and Avon met the same ends when their series closed.

Meanwhile, in anime, I always through Joe was cooler than Ken.

Or, if you're a "Battle of the Planets" fan, that's Mark vs. Ace.

Mark (or Joe) was a hard-core dick who took risks and protocol be damned! He was going to Start Something while Ken (or Ace) was busy thinking about the right thing to do.

And, I'll concede right now, I had a thing for the bad-boys.

Let's be honest. Who would you be more interested in hanging out with? Han Solo or Luke? Sure, Luke's a nice kid and all, but Han Solo is going to show you a good time.

Mugen or Jin?

James Bond was a complete asshole, but we love him. Why?

McGoohan hated everyone, but we loved him.

He was such a troll, he was asked to do it again.

So what is it? What is this cult of mean?

Christ, what an asshole.

Why do we so admire these people who think so little of us?

Or do we just wish we could be like them?

Maybe it's in our biology.

Have you ever noticed that when you're in a tough situation--trying to deal with a bank or an ISP--that you tend to get a little mean? You just aren't as pleasant as you could be. There are strange threats that bubble out of nowhere, that--suddenly--you're able to make. You're helpless, but you you still make threats.

We watch these people in films on TV and may, just maybe, we wish that we had that same kind of power. We feel so little, we have to reduce everything around us.

Anyway, just a thought. I'm sure you would never do anything like that. Of course not; you're so much bigger. No, no. You'll let it all go, because you're such a lovely person. You'd never resort to such cruelty.

Of course you are.


Christopher Sobieniak said...

Bothering to be nerdy here, in Battle of the Planets, Ken was "Mark" and Joe was "Jason" ("Ace" was what they called Ken in the other "G-Force" dub that Cartoon Network aired in the 90's).

Christopher Sobieniak said...

That scene you did bring up from Gatchaman though is a pretty good example of what typically got edited out of Battle of the Planets. That whole part with Ken and Joe's fight simply gets erased with a simple chat and they're off to HQ like it was no biggie despite the tension that was building.

Dr. Mila said...

Herp-a-derp. It's been too long since I've watched it.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

That's OK, those names were pointless anyway (what with the other names of the team that sound corny to begin with, Princess (a suitable name for any household pet), Tiny (a misnomer) and Keyop (well, they weren't even suggesting he was a kid at all).